(Natural News) As if it has not been emphasized enough, a study confirms that a sedentary lifestyle is a significant risk factor in diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is one of the top causes of death in the world today. In the U.S. alone, about 30 million people have it. Another 84 million suffer from elevated blood sugar levels and are at the prediabetic stage – if their blood sugar levels aren’t managed, prediabetics are likely to become diabetics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in four people with diabetes don’t even know they have the disease.
Lifestyle is an important factor in the development of Type 2 diabetics. Apart from diet and habits like cigarette use, your level of physical activity will determine how likely you are to have the disease. According to a study, even short periods of inactivity are enough to trigger signs of diabetes, especially in older prediabetic individuals.
This study, published in the Journals of Gerontology, told its participants, aged 65 to 73, to limit their movements to less than 1,000 steps per day for two weeks. This was then followed by another two weeks wherein the participants recovered by reverting to their normal activity. The researchers found that because of the period of inactivity, the participants’ blood sugar rose and their insulin sensitivity fell. Both of these changes are signs of diabetes.
Although this result was expected, the other outcome came as a surprise. The participants did not become healthier even after recovery. Their blood sugar levels remained elevated and their insulin resistance remained up. The researchers noted that diabetics who take a break from activity may need several interventions just to recover from the negative effects of brief periods of inactivity. These include active rehabilitation and dietary changes.
These findings were corroborated by a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, which showed that insulin resistance can happen rapidly, even in healthy individuals. The researchers asked active, healthy young men to reduce their physical activity from 10,000 to just under 5,000 steps in a day for a mere five days.
As in the case of the previous study, the participants showed signs of elevated blood sugar levels and increased insulin resistance. Their skeletal and muscle mass and strength went down as well. These effects of a sedentary lifestyle are making experts think it may be a worse risk factor in any disease than obesity is – about as dangerous as smoking cigarettes or having uncontrolled high blood pressure.
The key is to get moving
To offset the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, the best thing to do is start exercising. Engaging in regular physical activity extends your lifespan by reducing the amount of harmful fats in your system and preventing chronic inflammation. It also has solid benefits for your blood sugar.
Apart from helping you keep the weight off – obesity is a risk factor in diabetes – exercise burns the extra sugar off your body. Some studies show that it can also improve your insulin sensitivity, ensuring that glucose is absorbed and used by your body instead of staying in your blood where it can damage your organs.
The good news is that the effects of exercise are immediate. You don’t even need to train like an athlete either – being consistent is the most important thing when it comes to exercising to keep diabetes at bay.
Learn how to control your blood sugar effectively at DiabetesScienceNews.com.